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Bike-friendly lawmakers try to restore commuter tax benefit

Published May 18, 2018

WASHINGTON (BRAIN) — On Friday — Bike to Work Day — Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Joe Crowley released a discussion draft bill that would restore a version of the bicycle commuter federal tax benefit, which was eliminated in the tax bill passed last year. 

The draft would restore the benefit, which is still on the books but was suspended through the 2026 tax year. The draft also expands the benefit to allow employees to count bike share memberships, bike storage, repairs and improvements as part of their bike commuting expenses that can be reimbursed tax free by their employer. The proposal also increases the maximum monthly tax-free reimbursement from $20 to 20 percent of the costs and allows employees to receive a public transit benefit the same month they receive the bike commute benefit, which was previously not allowed. It allows the benefit if the employee regularly uses a bike for "a portion" of the commute. The current law required a bike to be use for a "substantial portion." 

"Cycling is the most efficient form of urban transportation ever devised," said Rep. Blumenauer, a Democrat who represents Oregon's 3rd District. "With more Americans cycling to work than ever before, it's past time that the federal government provide the flexibility and incentives needed to encourage bike commuting and offer more transportation choices."

Crowley, who represents New York's 14th District and is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said, "Giving employees the ability to easily and affordably bike to work will benefit our economy, our environment, and our communities.

"On Bike Work Day, I'm proud to team up with Congressman Blumenauer to help more Americans get on the road — on a bike!"

The congressmen said the Bicycle Commuter Act of 2018 will be formally introduced later this year. They said they released the proposal "to provide the public and key stakeholders an opportunity to comment on the draft amidst a rapidly-changing transportation system before the draft becomes formal legislation."

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